Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Over the last couple of days we’ve thought about what it looks like to worship the Lord by offering our bodies as a living sacrifice. We’ve talked about how the mercies of God motivate us to offer ourselves to the Lord. Today, let’s look at how we go about offering our bodies to the Lord.
In our passage, Paul urges us to do two things. First, he says not to conform to the patterns of this world. Second, he says we’re to renew our minds. I want you to think about that for a moment and then answer the question “Who does Paul urge to do this work?” It’s you and me; it’s anyone who is a follower of Christ.
However, many times we don’t do the work. We focus all our attention on gathering knowledge, but we don’t let that knowledge lead us to change. Sometimes I think we forget that there is a role for us to play in our walk with Christ. You and I have the responsibility to choose actions that are in line with God’s will.
Here’s an example of what happens. Let’s say there is a guy (a believer) who has a problem controlling his temper. So, he goes to his pastor and says, “I want to change. I don’t like the way I fly off the handle at folks. I think I have an anger problem.” The pastor asks him, “Well, what are you doing to help you change?” The guy says, “I’m reading my bible and praying, but nothing is happening, I still get angry with people.” Now imagine with me that the guy is reading his bible, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your…” and then…the kids are making a bunch of noise, so he stops reading and yells, “SHUT UP! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M READING!!!?” Knowledge by itself does not produce change; change will only come when we put in the effort to change. We have to choose to do the work.
Holiness of life rarely progresses apart from deliberative acts of the will. The kind of deliberate transformation Paul is calling us to is the intentional process in shaping our inner being to be like the inner being of Christ: God-connected, self-denying, joyful, and easily obedient. This kind of change is always dependent upon the leadership of the Spirit and the provision of God’s grace, but it is founded on intentional human effort.
What about you? What needs to change?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.